Daniel Leonhard Purdy

Daniel Leonhard Purdy

Professor of German Studies

Enlightenment; Romanticism; Asian-German cultural history; architectural aesthetics

242 Burrowes Building

Curriculum Vitae

Download CV


  1. Ph.D. Cornell University, 1992


Dr. Purdy was born in Berlin and raised bilingually in New York City. Before arriving at Penn State University, he taught for nine years at Columbia University. His research specializes on the connections between material culture and philosophical thought. Much of his writing concentrates on the Goethezeit. Having written about consumer culture and architectural theory, his current project focuses on the German reception of Chinese culture in the early modern period. In 1998, he published a study on fashion culture and male identity, The Tyranny of Elegance: Consumer Cosmopolitanism in the Era of Goethe, with Johns Hopkins University Press. In 2005 the University of Minnesota Press published his collection of historical writings about style, The Rise of Fashion. His latest book, On the Ruins of Babel: Architectural Metaphor in German Thought, appeared in July 2011 with Cornell University Press.  He co-edited with Bettina Brandt the volume, China in the German Enlightenment (Toronto UP, 2016) and has completed a manuscript, entitled: Chinese Sympathies: Asian-European Networks from Marco Polo to World Literature.

  Professor Purdy has served as President of the North American Goethe Society and as editor for the North American Goethe Yearbook. Currently, he serves as director of the Max Kade Research Institute at Penn State. Daniel Purdy has received grants from the DAAD, the Stiftung Weimarer Klassik and the Humboldt Foundation.